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Tree Trimming Practices

The ability to provide reliable electric service along with the safety of our employees and members are very important to Great Lakes Energy. In order to achieve both, we must maintain our equipment and power line rights-of-way through a variety of practices, including vegetation management. View our Vegetation Management Program brochure for more information.

Trees are the most common cause of power outages for Great Lakes Energy members. To achieve greater reliability for our members, our Vegetation Management department performs routine maintenance of trees and other vegetation on our more than 11,000 miles of overhead lines.

Routine vegetation management activities are completed on a regular cycle of approximately every seven years. For a current list of locations on this year’s cycle, Click Here. Tree pruning or removal outside of this regularly scheduled maintenance is completed only at the request of the landowner or to correct a hazardous situation.

How Much Will Be Trimmed?

The amount of space required for overhead electric line clearance is determined by the Rural Utility Service and also by the species of tree and voltage of the line. Sometimes it is better to remove a tree than to prune it drastically, although each tree is evaluated individually. Our professional, certified contractors perform tree pruning and removal for Great Lakes Energy. Please do not attempt to prune a tree yourself if it’s under or near an overhead line.

Directional pruning methods may be used by our contracted crews to remove the branches that conflict with the overhead lines. This allows for the tree to achieve a more normal regrowth and in the long run it will help prevent pest problems and decay. Not all trees are candidates for directional pruning and may require pruning below the lines.

Proper Planting

Please be aware that any tree or shrub planted near our power lines could be accidentally damaged by crews working to restore your power. They may also hinder our crews’ access to the power lines during an outage. If you still wish to plant near the power lines, please consider how large the tree or shrub will grow. Certain species of trees and even shrubs grow too large to be planted near power lines, which could result in pruning or possible removal by our Vegetation Management crews.

To ensure proper planting, only plant trees with a mature height of 14 ft. or less in areas within 20 ft. of overhead power lines. Trees that have a mature height of 40 ft. or less should be planted at least 20 ft. from power lines. Trees with a mature height of 40 ft. or more can be planted at least 45 ft. away from power lines.

For more information on proper planting, visit the National Arbor Day Foundation or view our brochure.

Herbicide Practices

We follow up with herbicide applications to prevent rapid re-growth and to maintain our seven-year cycle for tree-trimming. For more information regarding our herbicide practices, Click Here.

Call Before You Dig

Before you dig, be safe and always call Miss Dig to protect yourself from harm. Utility personnel will come to your property and place flags in the ground in locations where underground wires run. There is no charge for this service. Dial 8-1-1, or go to